There’s speculation that 2019 will be the year of cask revival, and Thornbridge Brewery is finding that demand for its cask brews is stronger than ever.
There were fears that cask beer may further decline in 2019, following a report from the British Beer and Pub Association which showed that cask beer sales were down by 6.8%.
But Thornbridge, which has been brewing cask beer since 2005, has seen a consistent demand for quality cask, particularly during the last few years, brewing more than two million pints of cask beer in 2018 alone.
Thornbridge was a pioneer of craft cask beer back in 2005, with its flagship Jaipur IPA. It set out to unravel the misconception that cask beer was boring, tasteless, brown or blonde beer, and has continued to champion and produce high-quality and innovative cask brews.
High demand for cask over the last few years has led to expansion at the brewery. Extra fermentation vessels were brought in, and the production schedule had to be increased in order to keep up with demand. Never before has Thornbridge brewed so much cask beer.
Its attendance at the Great British Beer Festival in August last year drew huge crowds, in particular for new brews and specials. The demand was so high, Thornbridge had to arrange for an additional delivery during the course of the five-day event.
Ice cream porters
Proving most popular was its Salted Caramel and Strawberry Ice Cream porters, part of the ever-evolving Lucaria series, going through almost 3,000 pints. Not just pleasing the CAMRA festival crowd, Salted Caramel Lucaria was the first of the Thornbridge range to sell out at the London Craft Beer Festival.
Thornbridge chief executive, Simon Webster, said: “There is an unfortunate stigma around cask beer that it’s all flat, brown ale, with no flavour, which in reality couldn’t be further from the truth.
“We are constantly evolving our cask beer range. In the last year we’ve brewed everything from a jasmine and orange pale to a flat white pale ale, as well as developing a series of ice cream porters, which have all been incredibly received.
“This year, we’re looking forward to bringing some old favourites back to cask, such as Chiron and AM:PM, as well as developing more new and exciting styles. Cask beer, for us, is thriving as much as it has ever been.”
Not only dedicated to crafting cask beer, Thornbridge is entering 2019 with big plans. Its foray into cans has seen huge success, and plans for a canning line are currently under way, expected to be fully operational in the spring. The Thornbridge Taproom has been moved into temporary premises to make way for the canning line, and a new unit will be opening later this year.